As near as I can discover, my first "American" ancestor was one of the Hessian soldiers rented to the British for use in fighting against the colonists during the Revolution. He was captured at Trenton and paroled and, instead of returning to his command, hired himself out as one of those "Pennsylvania Dutch" farm laborers whom Benjamin Franklin detested. Within 50 years his descendants were no longer Roman Catholics but Methodists living in Georgia; by the Civil War they were in Alabama and Mississippi — still on the losing side. One was with Evander Law's Brigade.  The other, who was a rich man, somehow managed to spend 4 years in Barksdale's Brigade without even making it to the rank of corporal.

The Hessians were all "pressed men" — conscripts who were literally forced into service by the same recruiting techniques that the British Navy used (the very ones that were among the primary grievances that provoked the Southies in Boston to become Sam Adams' loyal followers). Even though most of the Southern branches of my family still prefer to start the genealogy with the Hessian's respectable children (which still qualifies everyone to be a Son or Daughter of the Confederacy), as an unreconstructed Yankee, I prefer the Hessian. I like to think that disgust for the draft is one of my better genetic inheritances. If I am fortunate enough to have grandchildren, I pray that neither the grandsons nor the granddaughters will have to break the law by refusing to participate in the charade now known as "Selective Service". If they take after their ancestors, they will be willing to volunteer: but they will not let the government tell them where their duties of service lie.

Jim Lackey adds: 

The lack's first recorded Military was the civil war. He survived, so his dated service was near the end of the war. I wasn't an officer so I didn't attend war college or any true military history classes. I defer to Pete or the other officers and historians on this august site.

Yet one can still tell you a map and a compass can and will take you anywhere. With my manchild (17 year old) on a Bama trip he made fun of my in the van nav technique at 6am. I retorted kid we will be cold and tired and driving out of here at midnight. The phones did not work in the valley and I refuse to use GPS on carz.

One of the things about Chicago childhood was it was too easy to navigate by map or memory. For years I traveled by dirtbike on RR tracks or powerline dirt cuts. At Ft. Knox I had no struggle adapting to on foot map and compass…Yet in Germany on a fast moving tank one can out run his map in 5 mikes.

Point? In Nashville or anywhere S or East, one can visit any civil war battle field, take a history book and do the stage to battle advance and or retreat on foot. One can imagine an all day forced march into and out of a fire fight with bad food no sleep and my gauche, I have only explored these fields in good weather.

I admit to never reading one word of Civil word history until two years ago. I find the entire war too much to bear. However a few of the battles S Nashville, and the surrounding areas to be quite interesting on a topographic map reading exercise. I can imagine marching up from Bama, sending my cav due east then attacking on foot with a battalion. There was quite a few balzy moves by the South in the awful war. I find the short swift battles and counter attacks most educational. The huge mass of troops is in all of history, to me is boring. The outcome was decided before day break. The after the fact of what went wrong is almost a bad joke. Some of the recounts on 91 are so silly I laugh. I do wait to read the 2003 recaps in good books if there ever is one.

Yeah the battle of Cowpens in the revolution or the battles of the 1860's around these parts N Ga the Cav counter attacks or attacks on the egregious Union supply lies are very exciting to walk through. Only a history book can describe Grants Forging and engineering work on the rivers to attack mass in force are a bit interesting. WW2 I was forced to learn all about the Battle of the Bulge or Ardens as that was my units history. Patton is far less interesting as a commander when you see his route or axis of attack and know the situation of the German. One day I'd like to visit the Ukrane and or Russia to look at the actual lay of the land. Those were some wicked battles. Yet the history often blames the German command. I am sure there are some reasons on the Map that many have failed to mention.

When you actually walk that last mile and top the crest and imagine an entire Battalion (or Army) when your at Brigade strength after marching all night all day and then go strait into attack at supper time.One can only imagine… as after a full nights rest, then driving 20 miles and walking just 5 up the trail to the hill. Then thinking we will be here all night and all day tomorrow under fire. Good lord, war is hell..





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